Legislation granting the St. Vincent Electricity Services Limited (VINLEC), authority to collect Solid Waste Management and Disposal fees from residents of the Grenadine islands of Bequia, Canouan and Union Island, on behalf of the Central Water and Sewerage Authority (CWSA) was passed in Parliament yesterday.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves in presenting the Environmental Health Services (Amendment) Bill 2016 said that on mainland St. Vincent, CWSA charges domestic customers a monthly fee of $11 for the collection and disposal of garbage which is included on the bill.
But, he noted that since there is no central water system in the Grenadines, as there is here on the mainland, the CWSA bills domestic customers there a monthly charge of EC$10 for the Solid Waste Management and Disposal service which is provided twice per week, but, only 8% of the residents pay the fee.
Dr. Gonsalves said CWSA pays out approximately 1.5 million dollars annually for Solid Waste Management services in the Grenadines- in Bequia (over EC$700,000), Canouan (EC$260,000) and Union Island (EC$500,000).
“The charges which are made by CWSA, not the full charge…they are billed only 29 percent of the cost, that is to say $420,000. So CWSA already absorbs a million dollar plus, but of this $420,000 which they charge annually, they collect only $33,000, eight percent,” Dr. Gonsalves said.
He noted that in an effort to recoup the cost, the Environmental Health Services Bill will grant VINLEC the authority to collect Solid Waste Management and Disposal fees on behalf of CWSA, by including the fee in the electricity bill for residents of the Grenadines.
“What this Bill does is to give VINLEC the authority to collect the solid waste collection and disposal fees…and VINLCEC will charge CWSA a commission for collecting it for them,” Prime Minister Gonsalves explained to legislators.
He added that “this fee will be taken as part of the Vinlec Bill so that in the same way that if you don’t pay your CWSA bill here in St. Vincent including the $11 a month, you will get your water cut off. When this comes into being and you don’t pay the $10 in the Grenadines the same thing will happen to your electricity, to make sure that we have people pay up for service which they get.”